More than a century ago, nearly 2,000 copper miners — most of them immigrants — were deported from Bisbee, Arizona, to the desert of New Mexico. Those who survived the deportation were banned from returning.
At that point 1917, copper was critical for Americans fighting abroad during World War I. The miners, who were underpaid and worked in dangerous conditions, had joined the Industrial Workers of the World, which threatened a strike. Some residents saw the workers as communists who were undermining the war effort.
Authorized by the sheriff, residents dragged workers and their sympathizers from homes and businesses, forced them into cattle cars and deported them miles from town.
Although 100 years have passed, the new PBS POV documentary “Bisbee ‘17” shows how the deportation still weighs heavy on the small town. Residents staged a reenactment of the series of events at the request of director Robert Green, trying to stay as true to the actual deportation as possible.
“The centennial was coming up, and I think that there was this general sense in the town that it was time to talk about a story that really had been buried for a really long time,” Green tells Here & Now’s Robin Young.
For the rest of this article: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/07/15/bisbee-arizona-deportations-pbs-documentary